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Golden touch: Women’s football at the YOG

IOC / Jed Leicester
05 Jul 2019
Olympic News, YOG, Football, Futsal
With the FIFA Women’s World Cup in full swing, looks back at some of the most memorable moments from the women’s football events at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG), including the ground-breaking futsal tournament at Buenos Aires 2018.

China triumph on home soil

China thrilled the more-than 11,600 fans at the Wutaishan Stadium in Nanjing, as it claimed the 2014 YOG title on home soil in impressive fashion. The hosts became the first Chinese team to win any FIFA tournament, with the home crowd cheering them to a comfortable 5-0 victory over pre-tournament favourites Venezuela in the gold medal match. It took only 10 minutes for the Chinese team to bring the home fans to their feet, with Wan Wenting opening the scoring with a stunning header, before Xie Qiwen doubled China’s lead with another headed effort. Shortly before the break, Ma Xiaolan sent a finely crafted shot into the far corner to give China a comprehensive 3-0 lead at half-time. Zhang Jiaxun added China’s fourth goal shortly after the restart, with substitute Wu Xi then adding the cherry on the cake for the hosts with a shot that slipped through the fingers of Venezuelan goalkeeper Nayluisa Caceres.



Goal-den boots

Portugal’s Ana Sofia Simoes Goncalves, better known as Fifo, lit up the YOG Buenos Aires 2018 futsal tournament with her incredible goal-scoring talents, finding the net 21 times across six matches. Her impressive feats included scoring all four goals in the gold medal match against Japan and a remarkable double hat-trick in the semi-final, when she fired six goals past Bolivia, including a delightful backheel.

Shootout success

The inaugural women’s YOG football tournament in Singapore featured a nail-biting finish, as Chile triumphed over Equatorial Guinea in a tense penalty shootout. Chile’s Romina Orellana had put the South Americans ahead with a superb 25th-minute free-kick, but Judit Ndong converted a spot kick in the second half to draw the Africans level. With the scores still level at 1-1 after normal time, the game headed to a penalty shoot-out. Both sides made no mistake in the first three rounds, confidently dispatching each shot into the back of the net. But when Chilean goalkeeper Paola Hinojosa denied Equatorial Guinea’s Justina Alene, it was Orellana who stepped up to take the decisive kick and secure the gold medal.

History made in Buenos Aires

The futsal tournaments at Buenos Aires 2018 marked two important milestones for the sport. Not only was it the first time that futsal had been included on the Olympic programme, it was also the first-ever FIFA women’s futsal tournament. And the event certainly didn’t disappoint. A total of 226 goals were scored in the tournament’s 24 matches, at an average of 9.42 per match, giving fans in the Main Futsal Hall and the CeNARD Hall plenty of reasons to cheer.

Portugal reign supreme

Led by goal-scoring phenomenon Fifo, Portugal lived up to their billing as pre-tournament favourites by clinching futsal gold at Buenos Aires 2018. The Europeans scored a total of 57 goals across their six matches, conceding only five times in the process. As well as 21-goal top scorer Fifo, other leading lights for the champions included Carolina Rocha, Beatriz Sanheiro and captain Telma Pereira. The influential skipper knew exactly how significant their achievement was after beating Japan 4-1 in the gold medal match. "It’s the first time that futsal has been part of the programme at the Olympic Games, and we’ve ended up winning the women’s competition," she explained. "We’ve made history!"

Keeper’s heroics send Venezuela through

Goalkeeper Nayluisa Caceres proved to be Venezuela’s match-winner in their semi-final against Mexico at Nanjing 2014. With the scores tied at 1-1 after normal time, the match headed to a penalty shootout, but the teams could still not be separated after each scored three of their first four spot kicks. Caceres then saved Montserrat Hernandez’s effort before coolly taking the crucial last kick herself to win the match for Venezuela. "I didn’t expect it to go to penalties,” she said afterwards. “And I certainly didn’t expect that I’d get to take one myself, so I was thrilled to have scored the winning spot kick."

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